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The Department of Health NI updates advice for CEV people



A change in the advice for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to Covid-19 is planned.


Since 26 December 2020, CEV people have been advised to adhere to additional steps to keep themselves safe from exposure to Covid-19, including advice not to attend the workplace if they are unable to work from home.


In recognition of the improving picture in terms of the activity of the virus in the community, a graduated easing of the advice for CEV people is planned, to commence on 12 April 2021.


The first step will be easing of the advice around going to the workplace.


From 12 April, if you are CEV you should continue to work from home where this is possible. If it is not possible, you can attend your workplace, provided your employer has taken the proper measures to ensure social distancing in your place of work, and you can travel to work in a way which allows for social distancing.


Future steps will see the gradual easing of other elements of advice for CEV people, and will be linked to easing of restrictions more generally.


Commenting on the proposed change, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride, said:


“From the outset, protecting the most vulnerable people from Covid-19 has been a key priority. If the current good progress in relation to the virus is maintained, I am pleased to recommend that CEV people will be able to attend work after 12 April, provided the proper measures have been taken regarding the biosecurity of the workplace. This is an important step to helping CEV people re-engage with everyday life with confidence.”


Future steps will see the gradual easing of other elements of advice for CEV people, and will be linked to easing of restrictions more generally.


The planned easing of advice will be subject to ongoing review of the status of the virus in Northern Ireland.


Advice for CEV people has been kept under continual review by a dedicated cell in the Department of Health. The most recent review of advice took place on 16 March, in line with the wider review of restrictions.


In reviewing the advice, CEV cell takes account of the latest evidence from the epidemiology; the status of the wider restrictions that are in place for the general population; and takes cognisance of the advice for CEV people that is in place elsewhere in the UK.


The planned changes in advice apply irrespective of whether or not an individual has been vaccinated. The position in relation to vaccination remains that people must continue to adhere to Covid-19 guidance even after they have been vaccinated.


The change in advice re: attending the workplace will mean that, after 11 April, individuals who are not attending work will no longer be eligible for SSP or ESA solely on basis of being CEV. They may still be eligible for furlough until the end of September, as being CEV is explicitly included as a reason in the furlough guidance.


Letters will not issue from CMO to advise of this change. CEV letters were issued when advice re: attending the workplace was strengthened, in recognition of the fact that people would need some form of evidence of their CEV status for their employers.


The dedicated NIDirect page remains the single, authoritative source of guidance for CEV people:


https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-clinically-extremely-vulnerable-and-vulnerable-people.

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